Moving to a Hosted Exchange Solution? Verify Your Devices are Supported…
Believe it or not we will be entering the 2nd quarter of 2012 very shortly and the push to move applications to The Cloud has never been more prevalent. As an organization you may have decided to embrace various Cloud technologies within the past couple of years such as a hosted Microsoft Exchange Online solution in hopes of easing hardware costs. Moving critical applications such as these may be a great idea but be sure to research what equipment and devices will work properly with your new hosted solution. I’m a huge proponent of Cloud/hosted technology, and it is obvious that The Cloud is here to stay, despite security and high availability concerns. That being said, it is also extremely important to put proper procedures in place and plan your move accordingly.
An externally hosted mail system such as Exchange Online or another Exchange provider will most likely require an elevated level of security for connection such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) and its predecessor SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This is a good thing right? Absolutely, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of your everyday devices do not support the new encryption method, thus rendering some of their functions useless. Many older devices such as postage systems, MFDs, and printers do not incorporate SSL or TLS for mail transfer via SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), therefore you will be left searching for that elusive workaround.
Luckily there are already some solutions to help with this issue and they are relatively easy to put in place. Utilizing an existing Windows server, IIS (Internet Information Services), and its default SMTP service is most often the accepted route and requires a minimal amount of configuration from the admin. After a successful setup IIS will be set to receive mail using basic authentication from the unsupported device. That transmission is then wrapped in SSL/TLS by IIS then forwarded on to the mail server requiring those encryption protocols. The second method would be to utilize the freely available Stunnel program. Stunnel works much in the same way that the IIS method does and wraps its outgoing transmissions in SSL/TLS as well. Configuration can be completed by editing a few lines of the config file, and it runs on a variety of operating systems, whereas IIS does not.
If you happen to find yourself in this exact situation please be aware that these alternative options exist. Do they require a “server-like” setup just to relay mail from an incompatible device? Yes, but at least there are temporary solutions until newer supported devices are put in place. Contact your Advance support representative for help in configuring these options in your business or to inquire about newer technology.